Seminar on OFM technical guideline continues to be offered throughout province

Seminar on OFM technical guideline continues to be offered throughout province

By Nancy Macdonald-Duncan
OFM Program Specialist – Prosecutions
Community Safety Enhancements

In May of 2012, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) released the Fire Safety Inspection and Enforcement Guideline (TG-01-2012). The guideline is located at the following link. This new guideline combined two existing guidelines: ‘Entry Warrants, Orders, Orders to Close’ and the previous ‘Fire Safety Inspection and Enforcement Guideline.’

The biggest change found in TG-01-2012 is the removal of any reference to ‘Inspection Reports.’ The new guideline sets out the enforcement options pursuant to the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. The previous Fire Safety Inspection and Enforcement Guideline supported the use of Inspection Reports and the OFM provided training to local fire services on the use of such Reports. At the same time, the OFM discouraged the use of an Inspection Order for contraventions of the Fire Code except where the particular article in the Code allowed for discretion.


One-day Seminar

With the release of the guideline, a one-day training seminar was created to assist fire departments in implementing the new guideline, as well as assisting with the drafting of Inspection Orders. As of March 1, 2013, 24 one-day seminars have been held throughout Ontario, including in Kenora, St. Thomas, Ottawa, Kingston, Mississauga, Ajax and Vaughan. There are currently 12 additional seminars scheduled for 2013.

Fire departments were also encouraged to invite their prosecutors to attend these seminars. Other than the cost of lunch, there is no fee for the off-campus seminars. The seminar provides prosecutors with an overview of the FPPA and covers a number of topics such as: entry rights; authority and powers of the fire prevention officer when conducting inspections; immediate threat to life; enforcement options; Inspection Orders; time for compliance and the Review/Appeal process. Municipal liability is also discussed, as well as the and the evidence required when prosecuting a specific Fire Code contravention as opposed to prosecuting for non-compliance of an Inspection Order.

To date, several prosecutors have attended the seminars. It has provided an opportunity for prosecutors and fire prevention officers to share their knowledge and experiences when enforcing and/or prosecuting charges under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. Specifically, it has enabled open discussion between prosecutors and fire prevention officers with respect to evidence gathering, facts at issue and the court process. Prosecutors attending this seminar are provided with a thorough review of the guideline and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.


Positive reviews

The feedback from participants has been positive. Below are just a few comments received from attendees:

“Extremely helpful; easy to follow material; concepts explained extremely well and illustrated by practical examples.”

“Knowledgeable presenters – good combination of practical fire experience and law”

“This helps clarify the FPPA for me and the tools available to efficiently gain compliance with the Fire Code”

“Excellent seminar; very well worth it!”


How can I register?

For those wishing to register for a seminar in 2013, please contact the Ontario Fire College at applyofc@ontario.ca. Locations for 2013 are listed below.

April 4 – Ontario Fire College - 1495 Muskoka Road North, Gravenhurst

April 20 - St. Joseph - Richards Landing

May 25 – Renfrew - Bonnechere Valley Fire Dept., 49 Bonnechere Street East, Eganville

June 8 – Essex - 55 Alice Street North, Essex

July 20 – Kapuskasing - Kapuskasing Fire Department, 76 Brunelle Road North

August 1 - Ontario Fire College - 1495 Muskoka Road North, Gravenhurst

November 13 – Ontario Fire College - 1495 Muskoka Road North, Gravenhurst

Students are required to bring a copy of TG-01-2012 Fire Safety Inspections and Enforcement Guideline (Page 1 to 37), the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and Fire Code O. Reg. 213/07. 

Further information contact Instructor Jana Gillis at Jana.Gillis@ontario.ca or 705-687-9687.


Reviews and Appeals

Since releasing this guideline, there have been enquiries by the fire service as to whether or not there has been an increase in the number of requests for reviews of Orders. OFM Technical Services has provided the following information: An increase in requests for reviews was noticed late in 2011 prior to the release of TG-01-2012. This increase continued into 2012 where the number of requests for Fire Marshal reviews jumped from a total of 48 in 2011 to a total of 83 in 2012.

There was a distinct increase in the number of requests for reviews of Orders made pursuant to clause 21(1)(g) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 for contraventions of the Fire Code.

In 2012, the majority of Orders related to the following issues:

i. care/care treatment occupancies

ii. hoarding tendencies

iii. fire alarm audibility

iv. vacant buildings

v. barns being used for assembly occupancies

In 2013, 25 requests for reviews have been received. This is more than double the number received for the same period in 2012. Requests for Fire Marshal reviews can be expected to rise proportional to the increase in use of Orders for contraventions of the Fire Code.

Despite the increase in requests for Fire Marshal reviews, the Fire Safety Commission has indicated that to date they have not experienced a dramatic increase in appeals since the inception of this guideline.

If there are currently no seminars scheduled in your area and you believe this seminar would be useful, a request should be made to the Ontario Fire College.